This won’t take long.
There are those who find themselves surprised that Democratic challenger Mark Schauer now finds himself with a slim lead over sitting Gov. Rick Snyder in the contest over who will lead Michigan forward for the next term.
I’m not one of those people.
No, I won’t lie and say I always knew Schauer would give Snyder a run for his money. I didn’t. I don’t pretend to be Super Pollster/political swami Nate Silver. But what I will say is that Michigan voters aren’t stupid, and they know when they’ve been lied to. You have to be a lot slicker than Rick to fool all the people all the time. He managed to fool quite a few voters during his maiden voyage back in 2011 with his whole ‘nerd’ campaign, pretending to be a soft-edged, common-sense Republican businessman who wasn’t too far to the right like those crazy cracked teapot types, but just conservative enough to convince a majority of voters that even if he wasn’t gonna be great he wouldn’t be too bad. That, combined with Democratic challenger Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s inability to excite the base (and the relative unpopularity of outgoing Gov. Jennifer Granholm who got stuck with cleanup duty behind her predecessor the Republican elephant Gov. John Engler who left her with almost as big a mess as Bush left for Obama), is the part that tranquilized just enough Democrats and independents to allow Snyder to tap dance on into office. Bernero was casually written off by the major newspapers as unrealistically liberal, Granholm was dismissed as a failed liberal who couldn’t deliver on her promise, and Snyder was lauded as the nerd with business sense who would know how to swoop in and get things done in a reasonable fashion. Because that’s what nerds do.
Yeah. And so fast forward a few years and we have Gov. Snyder blatantly ignoring the demonstrated will of his own constituents when he ignored the majority of Michigan voters in 2012 who voted to repeal the Emergency Manager law that he had shoved into place the previous year. The law that stole democracy from Detroit and just about every other Michigan municipality with a high percentage of African American residents by shoving aside their own elected officials and forcing them to accept the dictates of his own handpicked emergency manager empowered to ignore just about everybody except the governor. The people didn’t like the law, and they made that plain in how they voted in November 2012. But when Snyder saw things weren’t going his way he rushed through another Emergency Manager law practically identical to the one overturned by the people he was elected to represent and forced that law into place without allowing any public debate or comment during a lame duck session in December.
That very same year in December, the Michigan Republican legislature rushed through the so-called Right-to-Work legislation with no committee hearings or allowing any prior glimpse at the bill that was a major blow to organized labor in Michigan. Snyder signed the bills, calling them pro-worker and pro-Michigan. This, of course, was after Snyder had said earlier in March 2012 that he didn’t at all support a Right-To-Work law because “it would be too divisive”. But he also opposed the effort by pro-union forces to enshrine collective bargaining in the Michigan constitution, and by December he was suddenly singing a different tune announcing his plans to join the Republican legislature in fast tracking the union-busting legislation.
So let’s review; Gov. Snyder lied to the people when he said he had no plans to back a Right-To-Work law, and he ignored the wishes of the people while stripping them of their right to vote. And now a liberal progressive named Mark Schauer is breathing fire down his neck.
Do the math.
Keith Owens (AKA Black Liberal Boomer) is a Detroit-based writer who has worked for The Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s alternative newsweekly the Metro Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and other newspapers. He was also a nationally syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate for three years beginning in 1993.